Hibernian Soapbox: a dreich day out with mime artists and casuals

Pete Sixsmith goes to Edinburgh, inspects the Fringe programme and then sees a match that makes him question his decision to watch football and not a spot of drama. A question reinforced by grim post-match encounter with the non-attending Hibs “casuals”, desperately sad and sub-human relics of football’s dark, yob days …


What is it
with our pre-season and heavy rain?

Three years ago, a downpour of biblical proportions deluged Dublin, leading to the cancellation of our game with Shamrock Rovers, two years ago the heavens opened as we arrived in Amsterdam, soaking those of us who had packed, rather than worn, waterproofs while last year we were soaked in Sinsheim prior to the Hoffenheim game.

This year, it was Scotland’s turn to turn the water on Wearside’s finest, as the rain came down in stair rods over that nation’s capital, turning Easter Road and its environs into a passable imitation of the streets of Venice at low tide. When it rains in Scotland, it does so with a vengeance, almost as if it wants to wash away the memories of Union in 1707.

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Hartlepool 1 Sunderland 3: and is it farewell to Stee…eeed?

The news from down the A19 was that Sunderland won comfortably, 3-1 with goals from Gyan, Colback and Larsson.

Better still, Pete Sixsmith reports from the game, we took it seriously and the match produced “some good pointers”. Ian Porter, at Blackcats, was also encouraged by what he saw (see footnote*).

Read moreHartlepool 1 Sunderland 3: and is it farewell to Stee…eeed?

Soapbox: beautiful at Burnley – the weather, not the game


A great day out, says Pete Sixsmith, but – like the curate’s egg – only in parts …

Burnley shimmered in the summer sunshine as the crowd filed in to Turf Moor, clad in shorts and t-shirts rather than the waterproofs and overcoats that one associates with this wet and windy part of North East Lancs.

Behind the ground, Burnley III were playing Ramsbottom III in front of a decent crowd of cricket and football fans, who were no doubt appreciative of the fact that the England pace bowler James Anderson learned his trade here.

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Burnley 1 Sunderland 0: nothing to write home about

Managers cannot lose with pre-season friendlies. Win and the Lads did well. Lose and it doesn’t really matter; it’s all about fitness.

Let us hope fitness had a boost today as there was precious little to get excited about in the way of Sunderland’s performance, according to our own Pete Sixsmith.

Read moreBurnley 1 Sunderland 0: nothing to write home about

Leicester 1 Sunderland 2: (2) memories of Monty, echoes of Rob Green

leicesterImage: Chris Ensell


A warm welcome from Salut! Sunderland to another writer. Harry Burrell, who this morning finds himself part of a squad that’s growing almost as big as Steve Bruce’s, encountered a classic slice of corporate football discourtesy (from Leicester City) as he prepared for his day out. As for Sunderland, he saw plenty to please him, but also signs of lingering weaknesses …

We had moved to the West Midlands in the early 50s and then across to the Leicester area in the early70s. I can’t exactly remember which match I first watched at Filbert Street, but it must have been during the early to mid 60s.

I don’t recall much detail of these early games, except for one of Jim Montgomery’s fabulous saves. One of the Leicester forwards powered in a header, from just inside the six yard box, which was heading for the bottom left-hand corner of the net.

The arms of the Leicester spectators were rising above their shoulders; from their throats came the cry “goa…” At that instant Jim hurled himself at the ball, deflecting it onto the post and away to safety. The arms dropped and the cry was stifled.

Read moreLeicester 1 Sunderland 2: (2) memories of Monty, echoes of Rob Green